2009 Benmarco Malbec

Year: 2009
Appellation: Mendoza
Country: Argentina
Wine Advocate: 91
Vinous Media: 89
Wine & Spirits: 90
Red Wine
Price :
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"Blended with 10% Bonarda; spice box, incense, lavender, black cherry; rich, plush palate." (WA)

"($20) Good bright ruby. Aromatic nose combines blueberry, licorice pastille, violet and sexy oak. Supple, sweet and perfumed on the palate, offering good breadth and finishing with suave tannins. This juicy, persistent wine offers early appeal." (IWC)

"An international style of red, this gracefully combines ripe red fruit and the toasty flavors of oak. Impressively balanced, this has a kind of tannic energy that extends the fruit flavor and keeps it fresh through a juicy, lightly spiced finish." (W&S)

"Did you see all of the CRAZY World Malbec Day celebrations on April 17th? People in the streets, parades, free wine tastings, fireworks and food? No? You didn’t? Neither did I.

World Malbec Day sounds like a holiday made up by some trade association tasked with promoting this delicious wine varietal that’s doing a fine job promoting itself. It’s kind of like boss’s day. Nice idea, but do we really need another holiday?

Now that I’ve gone on an Andy Rooney style rant about how stupid the holiday is, I have to admit that I actually drank a Malbec on Sunday. Hypocritical I know, but I’v been wanting to try this one and Sunday was as good as any other day that ends in “y”. It’s not my fault it happened to be World Malbec Day.

The 2009 BenMarco Malbec is as good as this grape gets for $15. It’s aged in 50% new French oak (roughly $1000 per barrel), which makes you wonder how they can afford to sell it for this price. This wine is made by Susana Balbo, who is taking Argentina by storm right now (remember Crios?). The nose is sweet and fragrant with nice vanilla oak overtones, but the most impressive part of this Malbec is the texture. It’s silky and has the signature of a truly world class wine. This is a compelling argument for bottling red wines without fining or filtration.

Argentine Malbec seems to get better with every vintage and if this wine is any indication, 2009 is looking really good. Maybe World Malbec Day isn’t that silly after all…" (Nickel & Dime)


I’ve never tried a wine from the Ben Marco Winery before, but I have certainly tried hundreds of Argentine Malbecs in this wines general price range. And I hate to admit, but the vast majority have been at best just o.k., and more often then not undistinguished even at there low price. .

Well, having said all that, it is with great delight that I can heartily recommend this most charming, 2009 Malbec from Ben Marco that exhibits a most attractive and beguiling fruity character. In the nose and taste of this, 2009 there is an intense strawberry character as well as noticeable amounts of ripe cherries along with hints of pomegranates and currants. There is very little tannin in the wine, which adds to its velvety quality and allows it to be quite drinkable today and it will keep well for another four or so years.

The wines is a blend of 92% Malbec and 8% Bonarda grown in the Mendoza area of Argentina at an elevation of 3000 feet where the days can be quite warm but offset by cool nights so the growing season allows the grapes to mature at a quality producing pace. Aging occurs for nearly a year in 50% new French Oak and 50% in two-year-old American Oak. I am pleased to say that I did not detect any of that off-putting (to me) bourbon-like American oak quality in this most enjoyable, well-balanced red.


PRICE: $14.95, ***bargain

WHERE: Los Angeles Wine Co.

(Martin's Guide to Wine bargains)

Winery Notes:
Beautiful deep purple color with perfumed aromas of ripe red fruits and roasted coffee beans. It is lush, fullbodied and penetrating on the palate with loads of chewy, currant jam flavors, bright acidity, and a touch of grip on the almost savory finish. This wine really unfolds with some air so try not to slurp it down in a rush, and it shows why the Argentine people are in love with Malbec. Some Bonarda was blended in for greater complexity and to achieve better balance. Pairs well with a wide range of foods including beef, sausages, spiced or grilled pork, veal, medium-strong cheeses, and meat-based pasta sauces.